Microgaming is certainly a prime example of one company whose rich history is scattered with a number of corporate social responsibility initiatives, particularly via the PlayItForward program.

During Safer Gambling Week 2020 alone the organisation has extended its support for the Gordon Moody Association, as well as donating social media safety packs to all Isle of Man schools and colleges with a view to helping protect the island’s youngsters from online harms. 

With all of this in mind, Kimberley Broad, Microgaming director of compliance, delves into some of the standout moments of 2020: “PlayItForward encompasses all aspects of Microgaming’s longstanding CSR programme, aiming to change the game for people, place and planet,” she says. 

“Back in March, we broadened our support network to include more of our local communities, extending our charitable scope to assist COVID-19 projects across the Isle of Man, Malta and Gibraltar. 

“From providing financial assistance to individuals and groups facing adversity, to purchasing vital medical masks for healthcare workers and provisions for families, each cause continues to make a positive difference. For me, though, the standout moment for PlayItForward was being able to support one local charity when it needed it most. 

“During lockdown, Isle of Man Foodbank saw a massive surge in requests for help. With fewer people leaving their homes or themselves able to provide support, this coincided with a sudden drop in donations. 

Safer Gambling Week provides an opportunity to revitalise and refocus our long-term messaging on this important topic”

“To help maintain the charity’s stocks on a long-term basis, and also to provide continued support for one of our own local contractors at a time when Microgaming staff were working from home, we organised for our caterers to ensure the charity received a weekly delivery of key ingredients.”

Broad’s comments come amid the ongoing Safer Gambling Week, running from November 19-25, which aims to unite all sectors of the industry and sees estimates suggest that 100,000 staff at more than 9,000 gambling venues and online sites will participate.

“While Microgaming has incorporated principles of fair play and safer gaming into its ethos from the very beginning, the game has changed and continues to do so. As a business and industry, we must keep safer gambling at the forefront of what we do,” Broad continues.

“Safer Gambling Week provides an opportunity to revitalise and refocus our long-term messaging on this important topic, not just externally, but also internally, embedding the importance of an effective approach to safer gambling across our teams.

“At Microgaming, our activities for Safer Gambling Week 2020 include a range of interactive courses and seminars aimed at stimulating conversation and ensuring our people are educated on the latest developments, guidelines and legislation. The schedule includes an extensive compliance course on problem gambling. 

“Meanwhile, drawing primarily on their work with the Betting and Gaming Council and UK Gambling Commission, our senior regulatory compliance officer and director of games will provide insights into what safer gambling will look like in 2021. We’ll also be delivering a series of demo videos straight to employees throughout the week, highlighting key areas such as deposit limits and self-exclusion.”

The key takeaway is that gambling should only ever be seen as a source of entertainment and enjoyment”

With ‘Let’s Talk About Safer Gambling’ remaining as the strapline for the week, the campaign portrays six messages in an attempt to engage with audiences, with each item providing details of free and confidential contact points for further information and advice. The key messages are:

  • Ask yourself…  have you carried on past your spending limit?
  • Just a heads up… it’s good to set yourself limits.
  • Just a heads up…  it’s easy to lose track of time when gambling.
  • Play smart…  know when to stop.
  • Remember…  friends and family are more important than gambling.
  • Remember…  gambling is not a way to make money.

With this in mind, Broad elaborated by taking a look at what he hopes stakeholders and the public take away from SGW20: “The key takeaway is that gambling should only ever be seen as a source of entertainment and enjoyment for players, and that support channels exist for those suffering from problem gambling. 

“Beyond this, I would hope that both players and stakeholders appreciate how the industry is committed to safer gambling in a serious way – that we are actively driving positive change. This is a long-term focus and ongoing message that extends far beyond Safer Gambling Week.”

Continuing on this theme, Broad maintained focus to elaborate on the necessity of the industry keeping up its safer gambling focus throughout 2021 and beyond: “Safer Gambling Week serves as a reminder of the industry’s ongoing commitment to player protection. We need to reinforce this commitment and keep the message alive throughout the year – that’s something Microgaming will focus on more in 2021. 

“…we’re always adapting and building the programme to ensure it continues to support the right initiatives”

“Through our CSR programme, Microgaming PlayItForward, we are continuing to support charities that are committed to treating, minimising or preventing gambling-related harm. Extending our support to even more safer gambling organisations was a key objective for us this year, as we helped and collaborated with the likes of YGAM, Motiv8 and the Gordon Moody Association. 

“Giving relevant charities and individuals a platform to continue their good work and communicate safer gambling to wider audiences is essential. We also need to work together as an industry to advance safer gambling technology, support charities on the frontline, and communicate the right messages to staff and players on a continuous basis.”

With the next 12 months becoming a focal point of the discussion, Broad turned the conversation full circle by touching upon how Microgaming intends to build upon its own efforts moving forward: “While PlayItForward is fully embedded in our culture at Microgaming, we’re always adapting and building the programme to ensure it continues to support the right initiatives. 

“Key to its evolution in 2021 will be the introduction of a new advisory panel consisting of experts, specialists and volunteers from our own teams and external partner network. The panel’s principal role is to consider the viability of more specialised charitable requests, based on their areas of expertise, which include healthcare, law and the environment. 

“With plans to extend our support for projects both locally on the Isle of Man and further afield, we’re also aiming to assist more worthy causes across our global communities, including Malta and Gibraltar.”